The Weld County Sheriff’s Office announced in March 2021 it arrested a Wichita man for the 1979 murder of Evans resident Evelyn Kay Day.
James Herman Dye, 64, is charged in Weld District Court with one count of murder in the first degree. He was arrested Monday by Weld County Sheriff’s Office detectives at his Wichita home with the assistance of the Wichita Police Department and the FBI.
Kay Day was 29 years old when she went missing in late November 1979. She was a business lab monitor working nights at Aims Community College, 5401 W. 20th St. in Greeley. She was last seen by a student about 10 p.m. Nov. 26, 1979, as Day was locking up the lab for the night.
The next morning, Day’s husband, Stanley Charles “Chuck” Day, realized his wife never returned home from work. He filed a missing person report with the Evans Police Department and informed Day’s colleagues at Aims that she was missing.
About 5:30 p.m. that day, Nov. 27, 1979, two of Day’s coworkers located her red 1977 Datsun station wagon parked on the eastbound shoulder in the 5700 block of West 20th Street. The two coworkers parked behind Day’s vehicle and found her body inside. One of the coworkers ran to the nearby Family Sports Center, 5701 W. 20th St., and called 911.
The subsequent investigation revealed Day had been beaten, sexually assaulted and strangled to death with the cloth belt of her own overcoat. Investigators at the time were able to secure several pieces of evidence, including the killer’s DNA.
About this time last year, Weld County Sheriff’s Office Det. Byron Kastilahn was assigned as the agency’s cold case investigator. Kastilahn’s transition marked the first time in the agency’s history the Investigation’s Unit had a dedicated cold case detective.
Kastilahn identified 10 priority cases for immediate investigation, including Day’s unsolved homicide. On May 1, 2020, Kastilahn contacted the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and asked to have the DNA profile collected in November 1979 compared to the millions of profiles in the national Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS. On Aug. 26, 2020, Kastilahn received a report stating the DNA evidence collected more than 40 years ago matched a profile belonging to James Herman Dye, a convicted felon with lengthy criminal histories in Colorado and Kansas.
During the following months, Kastilahn dedicated his time to reviewing old case notes and reinterviewing family members and other persons of interest in the case. Last October, Kastilahn submitted an order to Aims Community College to produce certain records. He learned Dye, who would have been in his early 20s at the time, was a student enrolled in automotive classes in the summer and fall of 1979, the winter of 1980 and the summer of 1982.
Of note, Dye was enrolled in a steering and suspension system class in the fall of 1979. The class was taught in the Trades and Industry building, which was directly north of the Business building where Day worked.
Dye’s criminal history in Colorado includes an arrest on Oct. 5, 1977, by the Weld County Sheriff’s Office for second-degree sexual assault, a Feb. 5, 1981, arrest for sexual assault on a child, an attempted sexual assault on May 7, 1981, a third-degree assault arrest in 1982 and another sexual assault on a child arrest on March 30, 1987. Similar modus operandi exists between the Day case in 1979 and the second-degree sexual assault case from Oct. 5, 1977.
Dye is currently incarcerated in the Sedgwick County Jail in Wichita awaiting extradition.
The Weld County Sheriff’s Office continues to seek information in this case. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Det. Byron Kastilahn at (970) 400-2827.
Tips can also be submitted to Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers Facebook page. Those submitting tips through Crime Stoppers that lead to the arrest and filing of charges on a suspect(s) may be eligible for a cash reward.